This photo sat hidden on my computer. I’m sharing it with you. It’s a chilly morning today. On Friday it snowed in Chihuahua, way north of here, and this morning there were weird, front-type clouds in our sky. Winter is on the way.
Winter is always a challenge due to the Hacienda’s lack of adequate heating, so we bundle up. It won’t be long before I don my thermal underwear which I will keep on till Springtime. Perhaps we’ll light the fireplaces on occasion, but we rarely do that. I still have lots of firewood that I brought here 17 years ago from our previous home.
We rely more on portable gas heaters, two downstairs and one upstairs.
Mostly, we just bundle up with extra layers.
The trains are running again
After a lengthy, silent lapse, railroading continues down the tracks just a block away, providing us night music of a rumbling nature.
One or more of the teacher unions, in cahoots with ever-radical “student teachers,” had the tracks, which are a major commercial link to the port of Lázaro Cárdenas on the Pacific coast, barricaded for two months to protest some nonsense or other.
The government stood idly by, as it always does if possible, till commercial interests finally forced action, and the government came to some agreement with the trouble-makers and the tracks were cleared. Among the common demands of “student teachers” and their union cronies is guaranteed employment after graduation. That’s right, guaranteed.
Elections coming up
Mexico has elections next year, not a presidential vote though so many of us would love to get rid of our demagogic doofus, but we’re stuck with him for another four years. No, the elections are lower ones, especially congressional spots.
The three traditional and long-running parties, the leftist PRD, the rightist PAN and the whatever-works PRI, are joining in an odd alliance to support common candidates against Morena, the party of the presidential clown. I wish them luck.
Morena is a new party formed by the doofus when no other party would have him.
In Mexico, people must have laminated IDs to vote, and you have to prove citizenship to get one. And you can’t (insert laugh track) mail it in. You go to the polling place and stand in line. The United States could learn a thing or two from us.
Speaking of elections and mail-in votes, I leave you with the following:
OUR PRESIDENT-ELECT, a fellow best known by his initials, AMLO, and who takes office in about a week, won in a landslide* on July 1. I did not vote for him.
He is a “man of the people,” which is why so many people voted for him. He crushed the opposition on his third run for the presidency. He came close the other times.
Like Bernie Sanders above the Rio Bravo, AMLO is fond of promising “free stuff.” He’s promised free healthcare like “they have in Canada,” even though the Mexican healthcare system is already excellent and offers various low-cost or free options to anyone who wants to sign up for them.
He wants to give all students scholarships and all graduates employment. This sounds swell, of course, if you disregard the matter of who’s paying for the largess.
How do you promise jobs? You can’t unless you make everyone a bureaucrat.
One of his worst ideas is putting major economic plans to a plebiscite. This has already happened at least twice around the country even though AMLO still is not president.
* * * *
Don’t underestimate ignoramuses
“The people know best,” he opines, though they rarely do, of course. “The people” usually are ignoramuses.
The first plebiscite took place quickly after his election win.
The topic was the new Mexico City airport, which is sorely needed due to the current one’s having long since outgrown its britches. The new airport is already partially done, and was scheduled to open in 2020.
“The people,” in all their brilliance, voted against it. Wiser minds in the business community called the plebiscite “Mickey Mouse” and illegal. How this will play out remains to be seen.
Just this week, a senator in the president-elect’s Morena Party presented a bill that would require mining companies to get permission of indigenous people before opening mining operations. Common sense says indigenous people will always say no to such a thing unless a huge payoff is included.
Stocks in Mexico’s two major mining firms plummeted, a loss of $1.6 billion U.S.
Earlier this month, the Morena Party proposed another law to curb bank fees. That sent bank stocks into a nosedive, and it took much of the Mexican stock market with it.
Mexico’s economic growth prospects are looking questionable, thanks to AMLO. But not to worry! We’re gonna give all students scholarships and guaranteed jobs on graduation. And free healthcare all around, just like Canada!
And AMLO has not even been inaugurated yet. By the way, he’s invited Venezuelan despot Nicolás Maduro to the festivities.
ALMO is telling those invasion caravans from Central America who are passing through Mexico to stay here. He’ll give them jobs too! Latino solidarity, one supposes.
The mind reels.
* * * *
Felipe voices his opinion
I voted in a plebiscite on Saturday, which I happened upon by chance on our main plaza. There was a table with two ladies, ballots and a box to drop them into.
I flashed my voter identification card, in color, with photo, something Mexico requires to vote, as should all nations.
I opined on various topics. A Yucatan tourist train, yes. Doubling pensions for people over 68, yes. (I’m way over 68!) Scholarships to everyone, no. Free healthcare to everyone, no. Some other stuff, mostly yes to my surprise.
* * * *
Hold onto your sombreros!
AMLO takes office Dec. 1, and the term lasts for six years. No re-election is allowed, but since the Morena Party is the majority, they could change that. I’m sure AMLO would love it just as much as he loves himself, which he surely does.
* * * *
* Universal suffrage is a dreadful idea. Only certain segments of the population should have the right to vote. There should be educational limits. No one without a high school degree should be able to vote. Voters should be property owners too.
I’VE VOTED IN every Mexican presidential election since I became a citizen in 2005. The first election after that was in 2006. The presidential elections happen every six years, so I’ve only voted in two so far.
Another is coming this summer.
In 2006, things were pretty clear-cut. There were three major parties: PAN (National Action Party, right-wing), PRD (Party of the Democratic Revolution, left-wing) and the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party, self-serving).
The PRI came into existence in 1929 and rigged elections to keep its presidents in power till the system failed in 2000 and the loudmouth Vicente Fox (PAN) was elected. Following him in 2006 was Felipe Calderón (PAN) and in 2012 we got Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI again). I voted for both Calderón and Peña Nieto.
So I’m batting 1,000.
I’m thinking Mexicans, after electing two PAN presidents and not seeing manna falling from heaven, decided to give PRI another chance, a chance most have regretted. I saw a poll recently in which about 65 percent of all Mexicans said they would never, ever vote for a PRI candidate again, and I cannot blame them.
During this back and forth between PRI and PAN has been the phenomenon of a nincompoop named Andrés Manuel López Obrador who goes by the initials AMLO. He almost won in 2006 and again in 2012 as the candidate of the PRD.
In 2006, AMLO lost by just 0.58 percent of the vote. He’s not a good loser, so he caused lots of demonstrations, especially in Mexico City, for a fair spell after the election. He roamed the nation, calling himself the “legitimate president.”
The bozo ran again in 2012 as the candidate of a political coalition headed by the PRD. After losing again, he and the PRD parted ways, and two years later he formed his own party, the National Regeneration Movement which goes by the initials MORENA, a flagrantly racist come-on.
Morena or its masculine form, Moreno, is Spanish for brown-skinned person, and since 90 percent of Mexicans are brown-skinned people, the none-too-subtle message here is “We are your party!” Forget the issues, vote your skin color.
Yes, American thinking has moved over the Rio Bravo. Just freaking great. Ironically, AMLO is not moreno. He’s just another of those old white guys.
Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard. — H.L. Mencken
After Mexicans voted twice for the PAN and not seeing manna fall from heaven, and then returning to the Devil They Knew, and seeing general corruption get even worse than normal, and that’s saying something, they’re ready for a change.
MORENA is that change, and AMLO currently leads in the polls. Unfortunately, the Mexican system does not require a majority of the votes to be president. You just have to get more votes than any other guy. You can become president with, say, 35 percent of the vote, with 65 percent wishing you’d take a hike.
There are no runoffs of the two top candidates. This is dumb, of course.
AMLO has opposed most every national reform of recent years. Education, Energy, Law. He doesn’t like gas stations from other countries here. He’s one with troublesome teacher unions. He’s a man of “the people,” if you know what I mean.
To quote H.L. Mencken: Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.
* * * *
Campaigns to get people registered to vote and to inspire them to vote because it’s their civic responsibility … Lord, what a lousy idea.
We’re seeing a lot of that here.
People who must be pushed to vote should not vote because they lack information and are easily manipulated. Not only should people not be encouraged to vote, the right to vote should be restricted in a number of ways. Universal suffrage is an insufferable notion.
By the way, we have voter-ID cards. No card, no vote. And absolutely no one thinks that getting one is an outrageous imposition.
* * * *
I just wanna license to steal job!
Over the past few years in Mexico, a disturbing trend has emerged. Coalitions of political parties. Back in the olden days, if someone was, say, a PAN candidate you could, with some degree of certainty, know that person was a conservative. If someone was a candidate of the Workers Party (read communist), you could pretty much be assured the person was a nincompoop.
Now, however, there are coalitions of parties that put up a single candidate, and the coalition can include both the conservative PAN and the left-wing PRD, even the commie Workers Party (PT). This is ridiculous.
I read a news story recently of a woman candidate who has been on the ticket of all the major parties and most of the fringe parties as well. She is now a candidate for MORENA, of course. What does she believe in? Getting a political post, and nothing more. It can be a cash cow. (See note at bottom.)
* * * *
We will vote for our next president on July 1. AMLO likely will be ahead in the polls. My vote will go to whomever is No. 2. Alas, there are five candidates on the ballot, and AMLO only has to win more than any one of the others.
With two candidates, he would lose. Five presents a problem. Three of the five are affiliated with major parties. Two are independents. This race is the first time that independents have been allowed to run.
If AMLO loses again, he might become Mexico’s Hillary, touring the nation and world to weep, moan, groan and say it’s just not fair. He’ll blame his loss on deplorable, uneducated peons (Mexican rednecks) who should have known better, and women who couldn’t stand up to their husbands.
With luck, my perfect batting average in elections here will continue.
Let us pray so.
* * * *
(Note 1: AMLO is the candidate of a coalition known as the “Together We Will Make History.” It includes MORENA, the Workers Party, i.e. communists, and something called the Social Encounter Party. Ricardo Anaya, currently No. 2 in the polling, is the candidate of a coalition known as the “Front for Mexico,” which includes the right-wing PAN, the left-wing PRD and a party called the Citizen Movement. José Antonio Meade is the candidate of a coalition called “Everyone for Mexico.” It is made up of the PRI, the Greens, which is a right-wing party in Mexico (Go figger!) and a fringe party called the New Alliance. All of this is pure nuts.)
(Note 2: Candidates in Mexico are legally restricted to three months of campaigning. It started this month. Contrast that to the United States where people can kick off campaigns, officially or not, years in advance. I prefer our system.)